[PHOTO] After Sunset

April 8, 2016 — About an hour after sunset

While eating dinner with my family, my husband looked out of the window and declared, “Honey, you need to take a look at the moon. It’s lower than it has been lately. I think you should take a picture.”

I tried leaning over to see what was so interesting about it and barely caught a glimpse. So I got up and walked over to the window to get a better view.

The moon was lovely, even if only as a thumbnail. From our standpoint it appeared the dark orange-y sky could have represented sand at the beach… if it weren’t for the trees, buildings, and telephone poles in the foreground.

There is a slight reflection from the double pane window, but I like it that way.

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Thumbnail Moon After Sunset

Photo taken with Pentax K-50  f/5.6  1/40 sec.  ISO : 12800

My New Baby

If you’re one of my usual readers you’ve probably noticed that I haven’t written a blog post in quite some time. I was taking some time off from things trying to get my life to calm down. I had been having a rough time and my mind just wouldn’t shut up. Yeah, Mr. Negative was rearing his ugly head again. That happens sometimes, but never usually for as long as this was. Usually I’m back to my normal self within a few days, but this time I just couldn’t shake it off. And the holidays only added on to the stress. It wasn’t until January when I finally snapped out of it.

Depression is no stranger to me. After all I was diagnosed with Clinical Depression during my previous marriage. I haven’t been on medication for it in years, as symptoms were few and far between shortly after I ended the relationship. I wonder, occasionally, if I should still be on them…

Anyway, enough about that. Onto something more enjoyable…

I used to own a (SLR) Pentax K-1000 with an f2/55mm lens and a 200mm zoom, but after so many years of use something was messed up inside the viewfinder. It looked like it might have had a crack or something, or maybe needed a cleaning, but I couldn’t afford it. A few other things happened and I ended up getting rid of it. (June 1993 to April 2012) That was a sad day for me. I had participated and won competitions and taken hundreds, if not thousands, of pictures with it.

Ever since getting rid of my camera I have wanted to replace it, we just never had the money. Or when we did have the money, something else came up. I had nearly given up the hope of ever getting another camera. But then… Comes the Light*.

For the past few months I have really been enjoying seeing and reading about all-things photography. It had been a passion of mine during my last couple years of high school.
I follow several Photography pages on social media, including blogs here on WP. I had started my own Photography page back in 2014.  At the time I only had use of the camera on my smartphone and a Point-and-Shoot digital camera. And after having owned a 35mm (film) camera, I was just not happy with the results. With that said, I got better results with my cell phone than the Kodak point-and-shoot, which I have now passed on to my kids.

Why am I passing down my digital?

First, my kids have wanted a camera ever since the first time they saw me use a camera. Second, I am hoping that they will enjoy and maybe want to learn more about photography, even if only as a hobby.
And last, but certainly not least, I was finally able to replace my beloved camera… and upgraded to boot.

I am now the proud owner of a Digital SLR! There is a lot to learn. There are many buttons and features on it, but I will get the hang of it.

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Pentax K-50 kit, camera bag, remote, & memory card.

Please excuse the quality and the background. The photo was taken with my LG G Stylo phone.

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Here are a few photos I’ve taken recently while learning about my new baby.

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Photos taken with Pentax K-50

Animals, Nature, Landscapes, and Still Life are my favorite subjects to photograph.

*Comes the Light–is a nickname given me by my late grandfather S.A.M. It goes well with my first name: Dawn.
Photography — the “art of light”.

Homemade Pico de Gallo

My family and I LOVE Mexican food, especially tacos; homemade tacos. There are so many varieties and toppings to put on them. They are so delicious, that we enjoy them at least once or twice a month.

Back while I was in college, I used to work at a Mexican fast food restaurant. (I’m not naming names, but I’m sure you’ll figure it out). At least one of their items had pico de gallo in it, and I loved it! I had never eaten cilantro or green chilies before, until I started working (and eating) there.

Several weeks ago we ordered out from the local restaurant, as I was craving that yummy, spicy sauce. Unfortunately the restaurant failed my expectations. Our order was a mess. Food was not wrapped correctly and was spilling out, lids were not completely locked on containers, etc. It looked like it was just thrown together in the bag. I was very disappointed. I decided, after sending a review to the corporate office, that we would not be ordering out from this restaurant again.

Yesterday I was writing out the grocery list and included everything we needed to make tacos. I got to thinking about that tasty Pico de Gallo sauce and my mouth began to water. I had an idea of what went in it from when I had made it during my work days back in college, however, I decided to do a little investigating just to be sure.

Last night we made tacos, and they were, undoubtedly, the best tacos we’ve ever made. My daughter & I were the only ones to use my new recipe since dear hubby and son don’t like some of the ingredients. My daughter said, “It tastes better than **********’s!” (She’s 8 years old by the way).

Ok, I guess I’ve held you in suspense long enough… ENJOY!

CraftyChick’s Homemade Pico de Gallo
makes about 4 cups

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2 large (firm) tomatoes, diced small
1 medium white onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bunch fresh cilantro, chopped (use to your taste)
2 Tbsp lime juice (half a fresh lime)
2-3 Tbsp Green Chile Sauce
salt & pepper to taste

In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients, mixing well.
Store in air-tight container in the refrigerator.
It may become a bit juicy over-night, so stir and use as normal.

Last night we used it right away, but I recommend making it at least a day ahead so flavors can blend together. I used some again today in my salad at lunchtime. All I can say is… YUM!!

Ask Seek Knock

The past few days have been mentally and emotionally hard on me.
I have been dealing with negative thoughts & emotions–yes, that happens on occasion with me. I have had bouts with depression which sometimes comes and goes in cycles. I have yet to pin point the exact cause, but trust me I’m working on it.

Well, after being mad, upset, and acting basically a “Grizzly Bear with a root canal”, I prayed and asked the Lord to help me because I hate being/acting like that.
Within an hour of praying, my countenance changed. Yeah, I am still slightly irritated about some things, but I’m no longer acting/reacting angrily. This actually amazes me, because the “norm” is a cycle that can last a few days to a couple of weeks before I break out of it.

Why am I posting this, you may be asking?

First, I want to encourage those who go through similar things. Depression and/or other emotional things are not fun to deal with.

Second, I believe in the power of prayer. And I believe we have entered a time where prayers will be answered swiftly. (They certainly were today).

And last, but certainly not least, I want to say THANK YOU–I know there are prayer warriors out there that pray for me and my family.

No matter where you are in life, no matter how you feel, the Good Lord knows and is there to help you through–He’s only a whisper away. You only need to ask.

“Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. Or what man is there among you who, if his son asks for bread, will give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil (sinful), know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!”  Matthew 7:7-11 NKJV

Love & God bless

Judge Not: The one big lie that is destroying America

We’ve all heard it, and many of us have probably used it at one time or another.

Judge Not!

Really? Do you know the full passage of that scripture?

Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you. And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’, and look, a plank is in your own eye? Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, AND THEN you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
Matthew 7:1-5

This passage clearly says that a person, after turning from his/her sin, can help others–by showing them the error of their ways, as to bring repentance. However, we cannot judge the heart, that’s God’s job.

We must be careful in how we approach it as well. Many forget and use a critical tone and point fingers forgetting that they, too, have sinned.

Jesus is our example. Jesus loves everyone. We should be walking in his footsteps–walk in love.

Do you realize how many [more] souls could be won for the Kingdom, if people were more compassionate and loving? It’s OK to want to help people, but we must do so in love.

Judge Not: The one big lie that is destroying America.

Excerpt:

It has been said that the most frequently quoted Bible verse is no longer John 3:16 but Matthew 7:1: “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” We cannot glibly quote this, though, without understanding what Jesus meant. When Jesus condemned judging, he wasn’t at all implying we should never make judgments about anyone. After all, a few verses later, Jesus himself calls certain people “pigs” and “dogs” (Matt 7:6) and “wolves in sheep’s clothing” (7:15). … What Jesus condemns is a critical and judgmental spirit, an unholy sense of superiority. Jesus commanded us to examine ourselves first for the problems we so easily see in others. Only then can we help remove the speck in another’s eye – which, incidentally, assumes that a problem exists and must be confronted.”

Deep Fried Calamari Rings

I have been thinking about a food that I used to enjoy when I lived in Canada. Every so often I’d go to a local Chinese Buffet and they had a really good calamari dish. There was a background flavor like egg yolks, and it was cooked with sliced onions, broccoli, and seasoned with chili flakes.

I loved it.

For a few years after moving back to the states, I tried finding a recipe. I even tried to contact the restaurant to no avail.

A few days ago I brought it up to my husband and he went and bought a package of frozen calamari rings with tentacles. I had never cooked that sort of thing before, neither has he. So we did some research and tried our hand at making deep fried calamari.

Last night we tried. And failed… miserably. It was like eating breaded rubberbands.

I asked some of my friends that I knew enjoyed cooking and  there were a few suggestions made. More research was done on my part. It seems most recipes I found, they marinated the calamari in buttermilk or milk.

We didn’t have buttermilk, but I knew you could make buttermilk. So tonight I tried again, and OYM!!! (Oh Your Mom!!!)

It. was. awesome! So tender and good. Hooray! No more eating breaded rubberbands! It didn’t taste like the calamari I had in Canada, but it was still good.

So, without further ado…

Deep Fried Calamari Rings with Tentacles

3 cups buttermilk (or homemade buttermilk–3 cups whole milk + 3 Tbsp apple cider vinegar, stir; let rest 5 minutes, stir)
2 lbs. frozen pre-cut calamari rings with tentacles, thawed/drained
3-4 eggs
2 cups Flour
Seasonings of your choice (I used paprika and sea salt)
Vegetable oil

Thaw frozen calamari under cool running water; drain.
Prepare buttermilk if you’re making your own.
In a medium or large bowl, add thawed/drained calamari and buttermilk; cover & refrigerate for 4 hours.
Add oil as directed for your deep fryer; heat to 360′ F.
Drain calamari well.
In a small bowl beat eggs. In a medium bowl mix flour and your spices. (OR you could use flour only and add a touch of salt after cooking).
Dredge calamari in flour mixture, then in eggs, and back into flour mixture coating well; shake off excess flour.
Fry in small batches until golden. Serve as desired.

We cooked angel hair pasta, added marinara sauce, and topped it off with calamari rings.

These can be eaten as a snack or as part of a meal. Enjoy!

Forgive & Love

“Out of suffering come the strongest souls. God’s wounded often make his best soldiers.”
-Unknown

 

There may be times in our lives when we face undesirable circumstances, tragic events, or maybe a bully or two.
Our first reaction is usually to get angry, especially if it involves getting hurt by other people. We may be angry for a long time, but we can’t let that anger turn into bitterness or worse, hatred.

Below is a link to an amazing story about a woman who faced horrendous things in her life. Even though she faced life threatening circumstances and was mistreated by those around her, she still found a way to love people anyway.
Talk about grace and a great example of how we all should live.

Always Forgive and choose to Walk in Love

 

God’s Wounded

”Elfriede “Marie” Jakob and I crossed paths over three years ago, when I spent a few weeks in Berlin…”